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jueves, 15 de febrero de 2018

At least 17 have died from the Florida school shooting

Investigators are puzzling over what led a 19-year-old man to open fire on his former classmates at a Parkland, Florida, area high school, taking the lives of 17 people and injuring at least 14 others. 

One student who witnessed the massacre said that “people were bleeding out and there was blood everywhere” after the gunman fired upon innocent students and faculty.

An American tragedy

“I’m so grateful to be living right now,” recalled the shaken spectator.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel provided a preliminary account of those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, telling reporters that 12 people died inside the school, 2 died outside of the school, 1 person died on the corner near the school, and 2 more succumbed to their injuries at the local hospital.

The suspected shooter has been identified as Nikolas Cruz, a former student who was expelled last year and is currently in custody after law enforcement arrested him in a neighborhood close to the school. Eyewitnesses say he wore a black vest, carried an AR-15 rifle, and fired several magazines worth of ammunition at his victims.  

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, told reporters that Cruz wore a gas mask, pulled the fire alarm, and deployed smoke grenades as students exited the building.

A father of a student at the school confirmed this account, telling CBS This Morning that Cruz was allegedly “wearing a black vest with a red shirt…and supposedly he pulled the fire alarm and planned it.”

Lockdown in South Florida

Initial calls came in to first responders around 2 p.m., and students remained on lockdown inside the school while SWAT officers moved through the building to clear each classroom. Students began slowly streaming out of the high school with their hands up and tears in their eyes, and they were instructed to leave their backpacks in a cordoned-off area.

Authorities arrested Cruz outside a house on the 11000 block of NW 47th Drive. Police later escorted him to a Broward Health North hospital, although he did not sustain any significant injuries.

In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy, Israel stressed that people have a responsibility to alert authorities when they see something that is out of place. He said:

If you are on a website and you know something or you’ve seen something, you see a person with rifles and weaponry, and you see something that’s not right, you owe it to your family, you owe it to your community and you owe it to law enforcement to make this a safer nation by calling up someone tonight. Call up the FBI, call up the Broward Sheriff’s Office, call up someone tonight and let them know that you have information that something’s not right. You can prevent a major tragedy like this devastation that happened in Parkland tonight.

Crime scene investigators worked through the night, combing through the devastation for evidence that could play a crucial role in piecing together the day’s events. Earlier that evening, medical examiners were tasked with the appalling job of examining the deceased throughout the dark and empty school grounds.

A nation in mourning

Florida Gov. Rick Scott offered his condolences for the victims and families on Wednesday, ensuring the public that every effort was being made to restore order and provide support to the Broward community.

Gov. Scott elaborated on the national assets being deployed to support the local government and Florida authorities and said that he would remain in South Florida to address the tragedy.

“As soon as this happened I started having updates from Sheriff Israel,” he told reporters. “I’ve talked to President [Donald] Trump, the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Superintendent Runice, the Commissioner for Florida Department of Law Enforcement Rick Swearingen, and I know everybody has worked tirelessly to make sure we do everything to keep everybody safe and have a thorough investigation.”

President Trump also weighed in on the tragedy by addressing the nation on Thursday, declaring that no student or teacher “should ever be in danger in an American school.”

Speaking from the White House, the president added that it was “not enough to simply take actions that make us feel we are making a difference, we must actually make that difference.”